U.S. crude stockpiles slide as imports fall -EIA

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Oil storage containers are seen, amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Los Angeles, California, U.S., April 7, 2021. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

NEW YORK, July 28 (Reuters) - U.S. crude stockpiles last week fell to their lowest since January 2020 as imports and production dropped, the Energy Information Administration said on Wednesday.

Crude inventories (USOILC=ECI) fell by 4.1 million barrels to 435.6 million barrels in the week to July 23, more than analysts' expectations in a Reuters poll for a decrease of 2.9 million barrels.

Stocks at the Cushing, Oklahoma, delivery hub for U.S. crude futures (USOICC=ECI)fell by 1.27 million barrels to 35.4 million barrels, also their lowest since January 2020, EIA said. Inventories in the Midwest overall fell to the lowest level since October 2018.

The declines helped oil prices edge higher, with U.S. crude futures rising above $72 a barrel.

Net U.S. crude imports (USOICI=ECI) fell last week by 616,000 barrels per day, while weekly field production fell by 200,000 bpd to 11.2 million bpd.

Refinery crude runs (USOICR=ECI) fell by 132,000 bpd, and refinery utilization rates (USOIRU=ECI) slipped 0.3 percentage point, EIA data showed.

Gasoline stocks (USOILG=ECI) fell by 2.3 million barrels, more than double forecasts for a 916,000-barrel drop.

Distillate stockpiles (USOILD=ECI), which include diesel and heating oil, dropped by 3.1 million barrels, data showed, also exceeding expectations for a 435,000-barrel drop.

"A rebound in implied demand for both gasoline and distillates, as well as lower refinery runs, has encouraged decent inventory draws for both," said Matt Smith, director of commodity research at ClipperData.

Reporting by Devika Krishna Kumar in New York Editing by Marguerita Choy

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